Wednesday, April 26, 2017



Meet guest chef Vincent Zhang from Hilton Beijing whose mettle in whipping up Beijing's finest Cantonese cuisine takes centrestage at Toh Yuen, Hilton Petaling Jaya from now until 30 April 2017. 

Chef Zhang artfully fuses the traditional and contemporary, resulting in Beijing fare with distinct Cantonese influences. According to the youthful Zhang, Beijing folks enjoy whetting their appetite with a wide assortment of cold appetisers and this is evident from the starters he has selected for us, to appeal to the Malaysian palate.
We were greatly tickled by the show-stealing khou sui ji (); its tongue-in-cheek tag means drool-worthy chicken. Indeed, the succulent pieces of Poached Chicken with Spicy Sauce certainly ruled the roost once we had a sampling. 

Smothered in fiery-red chilli oil, the chook's deliciousness was discernible. Also the gritty chilli on top wasn't tongue-searing hot as we had anticipated but faintly smoky-sweet. 
Served on crushed ice, the paper-thin strips of Fruit Juice Infused Bitter Melon Salad proved on-point too. If you balk at eating this bitter vegetable, I urge you to try it. Instead of the usual astringent bitterness, each crunchy strip tasted mildly fruity as the chef has infused the bitter melon strips with guava juice (sometimes apple juice is used).

Taking a leaf from a classic 300 year-old Chinese appetiser recipe, Zhang reinterpreted Marinated Chinese Cabbage with Mustard his way. The 1.5" Chinese cabbage rolls which resembled siew mai dumplings were pliantly soft, zapping the tastebuds with bright mustardy zinginess once we bit into them.
The Jellyfish Flower in Aged Vinegar with Leek and Ginger Dressing served up a flourish of toothsome crunchiness and piquant flavours. We relished every mouthful of this simple, no-frills offering.

Both the Double Boiled Black Chicken Soup with American Ginseng, Goji Berries & Red Dates and 'Surfing' Fine Slices of Whole Live Abalone with Kombu Seaweed in Superior Broth stayed true to the Cantonese ching theem (clear and sweet) approach. Suffice to say, the delicate, unadulterated accents of the two soups warmed our hearts at first sip.
A hodge-podge of aromatics had gone into marinating the cod overnight before it was deftly transformed by Zhang into Beijing Famous Pan Fried Cod with Mustard Mayo. Paired with plump asparagus spears and a smear of palate-prickling wasabi mayo, this fish exuded such winsome panache we swiftly wiped everything clean.
Zhang then raised the bar with Beef Fillet with Golden Garlic Crisps, a signature dish at Hilton Beijing. Laden with enticing aroma and nuance from golden brown confetti of garlic crisps, the meat's scrumptious mouthfeel invariably scored top marks.
Sha jiang or sand ginger (Kaempferia galanga) was integral to the chef's marinade for the delectable Crispy Roast Chicken with Salt & Pepper, lending muted camphorous peppery hints to the perennial crowd-pleaser. In fact, the crisp skin and juicy, moist flesh made the side dip of chilli sauce almost redundant.
Equal parts of egg and bean milk went into the making of the yellowish Beancurd with Seared Foie Gras, Scallops & Mushroom Sauce. Never mind its amusing Scotch Brite appearance, the eggy beancurd topped with chopped spinach worked like a charm. The beancurd's light sponginess was a match made in culinary heaven with the attendant ingredients.
Ethereally soft and bouncy textures converged with delicately sweet and clear seafood accents in the dish of Prawn Fritters with Asparagus, Pumpkin & Lily Bulbs; an admirable testament of the chef's flair for his craft.
He even presented a Chinese fusion of Taiwan's famed 'three cup' chicken speciality, resulting in Cantonese Stir-fried Chicken with Trio of Sauces. Whilst basil plays an assertive role in the Taiwanese version, the convergence of savoury-sweet-herbaceous nuances was no less voluptuous on the palate. Garlic, ginger and shallot also added a tinge of warm spiciness.

Mindful of our hot, tropical weather, Zhang proffers Hot Green Bean & Mandarin Peel Broth as one of the dessert options. Known for its cooling property, the green bean purée was pleasantly smooth and slightly unctuous.
Another cooling dessert broth which should prove popular is Snow Pear with Red Dates & Sweet White Fungus, served hot or cold. A timeless not too sweet treat that's both nutritious and wholesome after a hearty meal.
Dishes for the Beijing's Finest Cantonese Cuisine by Chef Vincent Zhang are priced from RM35 onwards. 

For reservations, call Toh Yuen, tel: 03-7955 9122 extn. 4073/74 or check for more details.


Choi Yen said...

I'm interested to try that saw bitter melon (bitter gourd?) infused with guava juice~

Alice JomMakanLife said...

@Choi Yen I guess you can also replicate it at home. Use fruit juice to infuse thinly sliced bittergourd...should be nice & tasty.

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